A Voidable marriage after one day of tieing the knot in Santa Clara

An interesting case has just come down from the 6th circuit court of appeals where by a black man attempted to tie the know with his ward who was an elderly white lady. Marreon Gene Starks, an African american man,  who was a 53 year old guardian of Beatrice P., a 53 year old, caucasian lady.

Their were numerous allegations of race and age discrimination hurled at the Santa Clara Judge Thomas Cane in 2014. The son of Beatrice P sought to have the conservatorship removed and the conservator removed whose name was Stephen P. Now in 2017 Starks the guardian of Beatrice P claims his due process rights were violated. His marriage was nullified.  He claims it was nullified based age and race discrimination. Beatrice P. , the 83 year old was barred from testifying in Court.  An annulled marriage basically voids a marriage and places the parties back to where they were before they entered into a marriage.  Thus a party will have not spousal support rights nor property rights to the other spouses property.

At the 2012 nullity proceeding an Alzheimer expert testified on behalf of the Beatrice P and declared that she was “cognitively incapacitated” and she was unable to make informed decisions.  Thus her mental health was completely diminished and she was not able to really ascertain what was going on in her life. This is very important to the nullity proceedings that were in place at the time.  Because in order to nullify a marriage you need to prove at trial one of the grounds of nullification.  One of the grounds is if a party to the marriage can be proven to be of unsound mind. Clearly in this case a medical doctor, Dr. Jonathan Canick, an expert testified to Beatrice P.’s unsound mind.

Starks worked for a home care service and was hired to assist Beatrice P and her late husband.  Once the husband had died Starks was fired.  He claimed that Beatrice P was in love with him and that they went to Reno to get married. Once Beatrice P son heard of the marriage he went to Court to file an restraining order against Starks to have him removed from the house.

Starks alleges now that he was the victim of a race and age based discrimination by the Judge. Starks further alleges that the conservator who was now the son of Beatrice P had stated that he “swore… that ‘[he’s] not having no n—– disrespect [his] father’s grave.”  This statement he alleges occurred after the conservator’s father had passed away who was the late husband of Beatrice P.

The 6th district court of appeals stated in its ruling that Starks had no evidence to prove his allegations. In addtion, they pointed out that if the son was a racist Starks did not prove that the Judge who heard the case at the trial level was also motivated by racism. In addition, the trial court also pointed out that although Beatrice P did not testify the trial court heard enough evidence to decide that the nullity would be granted.